The Michelin Red Guide is the definitive hotel and restuaraunt guide to France. Updated each year and with considerable practical benefits, it deserves its 'essential' reputation. The listings are symbol-based with short and helpful descriptions in English.
Each region, arranged alphabetically, is introduced and covered, with major sights highlighted and local hotels and restaurants suggested and rated according to cost. Good opening chapters provide background reading. Best for a tour by car.
Michelin are hard to beat on home turf. This excellent, colourful general guide, arranged by region, primarily covers sightseeing, with lists of recommended hotels and restaurants included at the back.
A regularly-updated guide for a comfortable tour. Michelin are best on hotels and restaurants but provide ample context to back it up. Regions are arranged alphabetically. Maps are excellent as one would expect.
A self-conscious pocket guide that claims to approach the city holistically rather than as a list of highlights. Certainly it unveils some interesting lesser-known spots, and the pull-out map is first-rate, but some may find the tone of the writing somewhat hard to swallow.
A colourful, cultural guide to Europe with plenty of photographs and bird's eye graphics. Perfect as a sightseer's companion for an organised tour of the continent, rather than a practical travelling guide. Includes a general introduction to the history, art and landscape of Europe followed by a section on each country.
A catch-all for the budget traveller, this guide covers western Europe, giving travel advice, accommodation and recommended sites of interest. The Discover series is a selection of the main tourist attractions detailed in the individual country guides.
For a whistlestop tour of Central Europe the Lonely Planet guide covers all the basics, but skimps a bit on culture and history. Including chapters on Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and Poland, not forgetting the 6 pages dedicated to Leichtenstein, it would be a good space-saving option.